With fans queueing for doors at 8 o’clock in the morning, the bar was set very high for Australian vlogger, actor and singer Troye Sivan. Manchester Academy door staff underestimated the crowd’s enthusiasm, opening very late and allowing only half an hour for the venue to fill before Astrid S hit the stage. It was a shame as well, because the Norwegian singer really warmed up the buzzing crowd with songs from her upcoming EP as well as her solo rendition of ‘Running Out’ which you have probably heard at the top of the charts remixed by Matoma. The petite but powerful Astrid was the ideal support act for Troye, matching genre and attitude and getting the audience dancing as they walked in.
The same way door staff underestimated Troye’s fans, I underestimated Troye’s performance ability. A self-proclaimed awkward fellow, he spent the better part of 2 hours proving he was done hiding behind his laptop camera and belting song after song from both his EP TRXYE and debut album Blue Neighbourhood. The stage in itself was brilliant, with neon tube lights shaped as houses changing colour to match the song, occasionally filling with haze to add another layer of mystery to some of his tunes. Joking with the crowd that he was under dressed, he likened his outfit to what Windows ’95 would look like if it chose a wardrobe, Troye looked comfortable on stage, and it came out in his performance. He introduced ‘Heaven’ with a short talk about how he had so many questions when he realised he was “most definitely not straight, like at all, not one bit straight” and how the song asks and answers his concerns. (“without losing a piece of me, how do I get into heaven?… if I’m losing a piece of me, maybe I don’t want heaven”)
To slow things down in preparation for his hit ‘Happy Little Pill’, he covered the legendary ‘Love is a Losing Game’ and made it his own. His smooth, floating voice filled the Academy and I was unable to find any fault with the performance. The one and only problem with the show was the audience. As he rose to fame due to his YouTube career, his core audience is made up of crazed fan-girls and boys, aged 13-16. This was made evident by the very high-pitched screams let out at every possible opportunity. At time this became quite annoying, but that may just be because I was a 20-year-old surrounded by pre-pubescent youths. In addition, the view to the stage was perpetually blocked by a sea of iPhones, desperately trying to photograph and film the performance. These inconveniences put aside, Troye (and Astrid) put on a brilliant show and I highly recommend his shows (particularly to people taller than 5 foot 6, who might have a chance at seeing the stage).